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Goodbye, Staffan Lindeberg

A photo Staffan sent me, showing him 
weighing a Kitavan man as part of the 
Kitava Study.
I recently heard the sad news that Staffan Lindeberg, MD, PhD, lead researcher of the Kitava Study, has died.

Staffan was a dedicated researcher and physician at Lund University in Sweden whose work was inspired by the evolutionary health principle.  After reading Boyd Eaton and Melvin Konner's seminal 1985 paper on Paleolithic nutrition, in Staffan's words, "it gradually dawned on me that John Harvey Kellogg, a vegetarian zealot, had more influence on dietary advice than Charles Darwin had" (Staffan Lindeberg. Food and Western Disease. 2010).  Long before it was en vogue, he adopted a Paleo-style diet and saw his own chronic disease risk factors, such as body weight and blood pressure, decline.

Shortly thereafter, Staffan organized the Kitava Study-- an investigation into the diet and health of one of the few remaining cultures scarcely touched by industrialization.  Although Kitavans weren't hunter-gatherers by any stretch of the imagination, they did eat a starchy diet free of grains, dairy, refined sugar, refined oils, and all processed foods.  In a series of papers, Staffan reported that the Kitavans showed undetectable levels of obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, and stroke-- even in old age.  He went on to conduct randomized, controlled trials on the Paleolithic diet, demonstrating that it can reduce chronic disease risk factors in a Western context.  He published an overview his findings in a book, Food and Western Disease.

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